Alex Fink wrote: > On Sat, 27 Aug 2016 18:48:48 -0400, Herman Miller > <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >> Instead, my current idea is that there were at least 5 vowels /a e >> i o u/ and possibly a central vowel /ə/ or /ɨ/. Most of the /e/ and >> /o/ merged with /i/ and /u/, but they remained as /e/ and /o/ in >> certain environments. Diphthongs /ei/ and /ou/ changed to long >> vowels /iː/ and /uː/. This accounts for the overabundance of /i/ >> and /u/ in comparison with /e/ and /o/, and the rarity of /e/ and >> /o/ at the end of words. > > I guess it makes sense that the central vowels fail to participate in > these changes, as it is peripheral vowels that have the tendency to > rise. But where do modern Tirëlat /@/ and /1/ come from, then? It > sounds like you want at most one of those to be a survival. The history of the central vowels is one of those things I haven't worked out. At first I was considering that unstressed /ə/ was just lost, and some /ə/ may have merged with /a/. The current idea I'm trying out is that a single central vowel may have split into modern /ɜ/ and /ɨ/, the same kind of split that happened with /e/ and /o/ but without the merger. >> My current working assumption is that /e/ and /o/ remained /e/ and >> /o/ in closed syllables, and merged with /i/ and /u/ elsewhere. >> Word-final /ə/ was lost. > > In which order? The merger happened before the loss of word-final /ə/. So a word like "mek" was originally *mek, but "mik" could be from *mik, *mekə, or *mikə. >> Where modern Tirëlat has /e/ and /o/ in open syllables, there may >> have been sound changes that eliminated one of the consonants, such >> as assimilation or degemination. Examples: >> >> *veddi > vedi "narrow" *glemma > glema "blurry" *merlo > melu "sea >> serpent" >> >> One possibility is that the cluster /ts/ was distinct from the >> affricate that became /ts/ in modern Tirëlat (I'll write that as >> /c/). >> >> *keci > kitsi "claw" *ketsi > ketsi "binary" > > Reasonable, but the examples are on the conservative side. I forget > whether I've already asked this, but what sort of sources, if any, > might Tirëlat have adopted loans from? That's an easy way to re-fill > phonotactic gaps created by sound change, which you might otherwise > be hesitant to posit because modern Tirëlat clusters are too diverse > and you can't lose any. Or could there be something going on like > internal syncope, or re-generalisation of the most common allomorph > of a derivational suffix? Modern Tirëlat could adopt words from pretty much any other language spoken in the same world (including Jarda and Lindiga); these being relatively recent sound changes. Lindiga does have central vowels. Syncope may be involved in the word "mërimri" at least; it was probably "mërimëri" at some point in the past. And certainly words like "tkwyr" are likely to have lost vowels at some point. > Did pre-Tirëlat have vowel-initial suffixes to consonant-final bases? > That would create alternations in syllable openness which would then > manifest as height alternations. What happens to these? Levelling? > Any doublets? > > Alex That's a good point; the diminutive of "žeğ" ought to be "žiğits" if it follows the pattern, and the verbal noun of "tos" should be "tusat". But I've already used "žeğits".